The idea of probabilistic engineering analysis — replacing fixed values for important parameters with their probability densities — seems almost self-evident. With the arrival of increasingly inexpensive computing capacity the past decade has witnessed a great proliferation of such analysis. Regrettably, however, much of this is unwittingly constructed on untenable statistical premises. Engineers, sure of their subsequent logic, can arrive at grossly erroneous conclusions, not always because their engineering is flawed, but because they relied on statistical assumptions that do not hold in their situation, or overlooked statistical results that do.

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